Shallow Thoughts : : Dec

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Tue, 28 Dec 2021

Grub2 on a Multi-Boot EFI System

When I bought my new laptop several years ago, I chose Ubuntu as its first distro even though I usually run Debian. For one thing, Ubuntu has an excellent installer. Second, they seem to do more testing on cutting-edge hardware, so I thought the chances were better that hardware on a brand-new laptop would be supported.

Ubuntu has been working fine for a couple of years, but with 21.10 ("Impish Indri") it took a precipitous downturn.

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[ 19:53 Dec 28, 2021    More linux | permalink to this entry | ]

Thu, 23 Dec 2021

Lost Some Trees to Bark Beetles

[Piñon Bark Beetles and larvae] This year's drought was fierce. We only had two substantial rainfalls all summer. And here in piñon-juniper country, that means the piñon trees were under heavy attack by piñon Ips bark beetles, Ips confusus.

Piñon bark beetles are apparently around all the time, but normally, the trees can fight them off by producing extra sap. But when it gets dry, drought-stressed trees can't make enough sap, the beetles proliferate, and trees start dying. Bark beetles are apparently the biggest known killer of mature piñon trees.

We're aware of this, and we water the piñons we can reach, and cross our fingers for the ones that are farther from the house. But this year we lost four trees -- all of them close enough to the house that we'd been watering them every three or four weeks.

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[ 18:38 Dec 23, 2021    More nature | permalink to this entry | ]

Sun, 12 Dec 2021

Battling Signup Spam on the Bill Tracker

I've spent a lot of the past week battling Russian spammers on the New Mexico Bill Tracker.

The New Mexico legislature just began a special session to define the new voting districts, which happens every 10 years after the census. When new legislative sessions start, the BillTracker usually needs some hand-holding to make sure it's tracking the new session. (I've been working on code to make it notice new sessions automatically, but it's not fully working yet). So when the session started, I checked the log files...

and found them full of Russian spam.

Specifically, what was happening was that a bot was going to my new user registration page and creating new accounts where the username was a paragraph of Cyrillic spam.

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[ 18:50 Dec 12, 2021    More tech/web | permalink to this entry | ]

Fri, 03 Dec 2021

Importing Cookies from a Firefox Profile in Python

I wrote at length about my explorations into selenium to fetch stories from the New York Times (as a subscriber). But I mentioned in Part III that there was a much easier way to fetch those stories, as long as the stories didn't need JavaScript.

That way is to use normal file fetching (using urllib or requests), but with a CookieJar object containing the cookies from a Firefox session where I'd logged in.

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[ 12:22 Dec 03, 2021    More programming | permalink to this entry | ]